LENT 2024 — all books mentioned 20% OFF

Maybe you saw my Facebook video about us packing up for Jubilee, the big collegiate conference in Pittsburgh (and the Friday afternoon event, Jubilee Professional.) It’s the biggest gig we do all year, an event that has been important to us since the late 1970s, before we ever became the event bookseller. With the truckload of stuff we take we become one of the most interesting bookstores in the tri-state region for those three days and we are working hard today to get the rented truck loaded up (in the snow) and on the road to Pittsburgh (about four hours West.) It’s been a long obedience in the same direction for us these many years and we are grateful to the CCO for holding this visionary event and allowing us to play a role year after year. To get a glimpse of what it’s all about, read my BookNotes last year’s epic post-Jubilee post or visit the current 2024 conference website.

Since we’ve been working 15-hour days for several weeks straight I am sorry to say that I didn’t get a good Lenten BookNotes newsletter out in time. Pray for my frazzled brain. But we’ve got 40 more days (and I will circle back before with more appropriate titles for Holy Week) so here are a few new titles I want you to know about. See a few other Lenten suggestions HERE or HERE. You can, of course, use the search engine at the BookNotes tab at our website and find even more older lists. Just known that some books may have gone out of print and certainly prices may have changed…

Here are some that are mostly new this year. 20% off.
Our staff are here at the shop and are eager to serve you. Scroll to the end to use the secure order tab. Thanks.

Lent: The Season of Repentance and Renewal Esau McCaulley (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

This was the first release, last year, in the lovely and wise Fullness of Time series. Many adored Tish Warren’s Advent which was followed by one on Christmas (which was excellent, by Emily Hunter McGowin) and the famous Fleming Rutledge’s Epiphany. You will be hearing more in a month or so about Pentecost by Emilio Alvarez. The senior editor and curator of this whole series is Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley, who wrote the important Reading While Black and a stunning memoir, How Far to the Promised Land. His small-sized Lent is the first in this series and we obviously couldn’t let the season pass without offering this fine overview. The first paragraph reminds us that “Lent is inescapably about repenting.” Yep. Don’t miss it.

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded: A Liturgy for Daily Worship from Pascha to Pentecost Jonathan Gibson (Crossway) $32.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $26.39

I’m not sure you’d see such a handsome, thoughtful, nicely printed, slipcased volume of liturgical prayers from a conservative Reformed guy like this before the recent renaissance in litany and prayer books, but we are thrilled. Gibson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is ordained in a UK Presbyterian off-shoot denomination and currently teaches OT at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. His previous volume, like this one, is also slipcased and offered liturgies for daily prayer in a Celtic sort of spirit called Be Thou My Vision.)  This new devotional is arranged with a Call to Worship and words for adoration, the reading of the law, confessions of sin, assurances of pardon, creeds and praises and catechism and more. From prayers for illumination before Scripture and Prayers of reflection and intercession after, this prayer book is artfully designed and obviously well crafted. It is very much about what Christ has done in his temptations, life, trial, passion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension. And Pentecost. Wow.

Unburdened: A Lenten Journey Toward Forgiveness  Carol Penner (Herald Press) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

What a lovely and good book this is about how sin weighs us down and, yet, how we long for freedom. We stock almost all the new books Herald Press does and while they are true to their Mennonite tradition, not all of their authors are necessarily Anabaptist. In this case, the author has served as a pastor and campus minister and a prof at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario (which is Mennonite.) She has written books on worship and on resisting violence against women, even in historic peace churches. We’ve respected her from afar for quite a while.

Unburdened is not sentimental or cheap and it realizes that forgiveness can be elusive. Her reflections are serious and wise and there are prayers, Scripture and stories (about both individuals and communities, people and institutions) that have taken steps towards freedom by practicing the Christian art of forgiveness.

Blurbs on the back are fascinating, one nice one from poet Luci Shaw, another by Baylor University prof (and serious scholar) Jonathan Tran, and an endorsement from Isaac S. Villegas, a contributing editor for the Christian Century. It has been called “beautifully honest” and “challenging.”

Although these six weeks of reflections can be used individually, there is a small group discussion guide in the back as well. Nicely done.

Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings Henri Nouwen (Crossroad) $19.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.96

Maybe it was just me (probably it was just me) but I thought this had gone out of print. I swear a year ago nobody could find it, from the big chains on down. Although over 50,000 have sold since it first released in Holland in 1992, Show Me The Way is a beloved, modern classic. And this year, we have it! Hooray.

The appropriate cover art by Vincent van Gogh matches the other compact-sized paperbacks in this great series, such as Life of the Beloved, Here and Now, Finding My Way Home, The Only Necessary Thing. 

“The longing and expectation of the 40 days of Lent are deeply expressed in this collection from Father Nouwen’s extensive writings. For each day, he offers a scripture guide for the path to Calvary and speaks as one who shares our difficulties in making the choice for Christ over the promises of worldly power and riches.”  –The Bulletin

Pause: Spending Lent with the Psalms Elizabeth F. Caldwell (WJK) $17.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60

Liz Caldwell is a beloved Christian educator, popular in several denominations (and certainly in APCE, the Association for Presbyterian Church Educators) and she has written several books about the faith life of children. She has done children’s Bibles and was a member of the Common English Bible board of editors. (She has taught pastoral theology at McCormick and Vanderbilt.) Pause, one reviewer noted, is “an immersion in divine poetry.”

The endorsements on this new guide — for personal use or small group study — are evocative and moving. One calls it a “soulful volume” while another says it is a “holy handbook.” Jack Seymour says she “guides us to drink deep of the wisdom of the Psalms.”

Most Biblical citations are from the NRSVue and CEB. There are great questions to ponder. There’s a good teacher’s guide in the back, too.

Women Who Followed Jesus: 40 Devotions on the Journey to Easter  Dandi Daley Mackall (Paraclete Press) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

I’ll be honest — a few years back I rolled my eyes at some sweet children’s Bible book that this author had done until one of my more attentive colleagues here at the store assured me that it was actually pretty good; impressive, even. Her simple kids books were better than we might expect from some evangelical publishers, and we became nearly instant fans. We’ve followed her books for children and middle school readers, and, increasingly, her adult books as well. She has been awarded and graced with very impressive reviews. Her Three Wise Women: 40 Devotions Celebrating Advent with Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna (also published by Paraclete) was wonderfully done, well written and creative without being overly edgy or provocative, and it was gorgeously designed. That one clearly set the bar for this brand new one.

Women Who Followed Jesus offers the classic 40 day’s worth of readings for Lent which invites us to “contemplate, ponder, and glory in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.” Mackall readily helps us do that because, well, she is a novelist. A storyteller, a teacher. Her exploration of the lives and faith of eight faith-filled women who walked with Jesus will be helpful to you, I’m sure. They are somewhat thought-provoking and quite Bible-based.

As it says on the back, “At this special time of. year, allow the sacred stories of these women devoted to Christ to encourage you with their examples of persistence, hope, sacrifice, grace, and love.” Not bad, eh?

Women Who Followed Jesus is nicely created with some handsome violent ink on sturdy paper, a satin, ribbon marker, and some handsome floral illustrations. Kudos to Paraclete. Not bad from a gal from rural Ohio, eh. Hooray.

Season of Beauty: A Lent and Easter Treasury of Readings, Poems, and Prayers Paraclete editors (Paraclete Press) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

We so appreciate Paraclete Press, the classy, indie publisher from near Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Their story is not mine to tell, but they haves in the liturgical churches (Catholic and Epsiopalian), in charismatic renewal, intentional Christian living in community, and in upscale publishing on spiritual formation, Catholic renewal, and historic, solid, ecumenical faith expressions. (They are also known for their Gregorian chant CDs, choir recordings and ministry, and a line of books about faith and the arts, not to mention a very impressive imprint for faith-based, gritty, serious fiction.) But I digress.

This is a lovely volume created by their team including Scripture, poems, writings from beloved authors — including mystics, poets, and saints — arranged alongside reproductions of great works of historic religious art. You will see Gustav Klimt and Renoir and Botticelli (and some which may surprise you) next to excerpts byDostoyevsky, Kierkegaard, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Louisa May Alcott and more. (There are more modern voices, too, from the likes of Scott Cairns and Nikki Grimes.) They’ve added handsome full color illustrations on solid, glossy paper, and a nice, yellow, ribbon marker.

They say, “It is our prayer that these words and images will capture your heart, mind, and spirit, and help you to contemplate the love of Christ during these holy days of mystery and miracles.” Kudos.

I was saying to somebody that we were taking these last two from Paraclete to Jubilee for our little Lent section in the book room there but noted that I wasn’t sure if hip, college kids would be drawn to these lovely, hardback volumes. The person replied that maybe they’d buy them for their mothers. Perfect! Maybe your know an woman of a certain age who would especially like these bonny books.

A Different Kind of Fast: Feeding Our True Hungers in Lent Christine Valters Paintner (Broadleaf) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

This has been our biggest seller so far — I oddly felt like I should announce it during Advent, since that, too, is a sober time of waiting and fasting and yearning, and a number of folks got it from us.

Alas, it has sold well all over the country, we are told — although I doubt that the robots at Amazon have a clue about it — and even the Lutheran publisher is out of it. WE EXPECT MORE BACK IN STOCK THE FIRST WEEK OF MARCH so know if you order it now, it won’t come to you for a few weeks yet. The publisher is glad such a title is in demand, but apologizes for running out.

Fun little fact: there are some handsome woodcuts in this lovely-to-hold paperback volume by an artist who also designed a few album covers for commemorative vinyl releases of records by my pal Bill Mallonee. So there’s that.

+++By the way, if you order this AND another book, it would be good if you tell us if we should send one now and the other one in March, or if we should hold one until that comes, sending them bundled and consolidated. It will help us know how to serve you best.+++  

While we’re at it, we also have most of her other older books, including the recent one called The Love of Thousands: How Angels, Saints, and Ancestors Walk with Us Toward Holiness (Sorin Books; $18.95.)


Nearing a Far God: Praying the Psalms with our Whole Selves Leslie Leyland Fields (NavPress) $16.99   OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

I could go on and on about how much we respect this woman who is at once nearly glamorous and as down to Earth as can be — she is a commercial fisher-person living and working on an island off the coast of Alaska — and a poetic, creative soul who yet is neither arcane nor abstract. She is artful and real, upbeat and realistic. She has written about fishing, about writing, about storytelling, about parenting (and the other vocations parents also have) and she edited my favorite book on food and faith. She has done an important book on forgiving parents and she has done many workshops, retreats, and church gatherings. Anyway, it is always good when a new book by Leslie Leyland Fields turns up.

And one just turned up yesterday, a bit early, and it seems providential to get to give a shout -out to it here at the beginning of Lent. We have bunches of books on the Psalms, heavy commentaries, devotionals, thoughtfully done explorations. I’ve read Peterson and Berrigan and Gordon Wenham and Brueggemann and more (mostly men, granted.) A favorite is David O. Taylor’s Open and Unafraid; it is a great book, with the added bonus of a forward by Peterson and an afterword by Bono.

Fields doesn’t quote any of these and at my first glance was struck. But you know what she does quote?The Psalms! This really seems to be a solid, honest, maybe even raw, look at what one singer once called “poems, prayers, and promises.” God offers all this in a bewilderingly brilliant and enduring songbook which has shaped the prayer lives of millions who have gone before us.

Does God listen when we talk to him? Does God actually care what we’re feeling? Is it true that this seemingly distant God is actually near — even intimate with us?

Here is what it says on the back:

The ancient pathway of the Psalms can show us how to come to God with our fears, failures, doubts, and wounds and find how much he cares. The psalmists give voice to every human experience — cries of lament, whispers of fear, shouts of praise — and God responds. These raw prayers reveal what an intimate relationship with God looks and sounds like. They provide a clear pattern for us to move toward joy.

Oh my, this is exciting to me, and in her hands, I’m sure this book will soon be on my list of favorite and most-often recommended titles on the Psalter. She is a concise and compelling teacher / writer and there is an activity of sorts at the end of each chapter inviting you to “practice transformative writing.” She offers insights into and helps you engage the seven different forms of the Psalms and by guiding you into an experience with “brain and body.”

The Wood Between the World: A Poetic Theology of the Cross Brian Zahnd (IVP) $24.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

I suspect I will want to do a fuller review of this once I have read it, but I’ve been holding off sharing about this again (I had done a brief highlight to invite people to pre-order it.) Now that it is here, The Wood Between the Worlds looks really, really good. There is so much about the atonement, the cross, the work and model of Christ, and how it shapes our own cruciform lifestyle, that it is hard to keep up with the scholarly approaches and fresh insights. Maybe you have even grown weary of the discussions.

Zahnd is making a contribution to this discussion and I gather he offers gentle critique to singular models that don’t give an adequate account of all the might be going on as Jesus suffers and dies and rises again to defeat Death. And yet, this is no standard theology textbook. It is, after all, “a poetic theology.” Even that line should resonate as it points to Lewis’s imaginative fiction.

Make no mistake: Zahn insists that “everything about the gospel message leads to the cross and proceeds from the cross.” In the narrative of Scripture, the crucifixion of Jesus is literally the crux of the story — “the axis on which the biblical story turns.”

I have been impressed with a Lenten message I’ve watched a time or two where Zahn preaches (in front of an enlarged medieval painting) in which he also brings in a story of Dostoevsky. Anyway, it is, as one reviewer put it, “a capacious portrait”

As Eric Peterson writes, Zahnd “breathes new life into the mystery of the cross: the supreme centerpiece of God’s love that radiates redemption and ushers us into the peaceable kingdom.”

There is an insert of full color plates of ancient art and there are inviting quotes from Orthodox and ancient theologians as well as poets like Yates and Hopkins and Eliot, alongside modern writers such as Frederick Buechner, Richard Bauckham, James Cone (juxtaposed with Neil Young) and, of course, Fleming Rutledge. At once a learned, thoughtful book, it looks remarkably inspiring. You should read it this Lenten season.

The Gift of Thorns: Jesus, the Flesh, and the War for our Wants A.J. Swoboda (Zondervan) $26.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59

I have long been an AJ fan, and appreciate Swoboda for his candor, faith, and realistic application of good, Spirited theology to all of life. He has a book about wandering through hard times, one of the very best books on doubt, an excellent one on sabbath-keeping, a few on eco-theology. This brand new one offers some “personal vulnerability” and — in the words of Nijay Gupta, “biblical wisdom and pastoral hope.” Gen Pollock Michel (who has written about desire) says that Swoboda has “comprehensively argued a faithful theology of desire” and that it is “prophetic, pastoral urgency that ignites his words.”

It’s not every author who quotes Abraham Kuyper and Catherine of Siena, Marva Dawn and Thomas Merton, Jamie Smith and Stanley Hauwerwas. What an author he is!

I like that he explores how some demonize desire and others deify it; surely neither is right and we need a better perspective. This is going to be huge and we’re glad such a reliable guide is helping us with this important topic.

Humility: Rediscovering the Way of Love and Life in Christ Michael W. Austin (Eerdmans) $24.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99

This book arrived just today and I’m very eager to read it carefully. I am sure I’ll enjoy it — Austin is a philsophy prof (at Eastern Kentucky University) and serves as a scholar at the Dietrich Bonheoffer Insitute. I’ve read his work on conspiracy theories (and QAnon) as well as an excellent survey of the gun debates in America. He is clear, caring, and a voice calling for a focus on character and virtue. It should not be so uncommon, but he insists that love is central to the way of Jesus and he shows here, it seems, that out of love can flow a healthy sort of humility.

I have not yet tackled Humility Illuminated by Dennis Edwards which I highlighted in a previous BookNotes. With a foreword by Marlena Graves and a back cover blurb by Michael Gorman, I am very eager to read it — his Might from the Margins was itself mighty.

But now comes this handsome, small books that I have long awaited, nicely written and mature, by Austin.

As it says on the back cover, “Amid culture wars and church division, Michael W. Austin calls us back to the authentic Way — following Christ in humility and love. Austin gudies the reader through spiritual disciplines to aid in the formation of this virtue, from praying the Psalms to building healthy communities. For Christians seeking union with God, in their souls and in society, Humility is the ideal companion.

As one reviewer notes, it is “about eternal things while very much in the present.” Napp Nazworth continues, in the “up-and down, rough and tumble process of becoming more Christ-like” as he faced his own life, death, and resurrection, Jesus shows us the way. Not a bad book to ponder during Lent, eh?




It is helpful if you tell us how you want us to ship your orders.And if you are doing a pre-order, tell us if you want us to hold other books until the pre-order comes, or send some now, and others later… we’re eager to serve you in a way that you prefer. Let us know your hopes.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options and, of course, UPS.  If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be a little slower. For one typical book, usually, it’s $4.33; 2 lbs would be $5.07. This is the cheapest method available and seems not to be too delayed.
  • United States Postal Service has another, quicker option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.70, if it fits in a flat-rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.50. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. Sometimes they are cheaper than Priority. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Keep in mind the possibility of holiday supply chain issues and slower delivery… still, we’re excited to serve you.


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Sadly, as of February 2024 we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over and is on the rise. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the waste water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It is getting worse. It is still important to be aware of how risks we take might effect the public good — those at risk, while not dying from the virus, are experiencing long-term health consequences. (Just check the latest reports of the rise of heart attacks and diabetes among younger adults, caused by long Covid.) It is complicated, but we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family who live here, our staff, and customers.) Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

We will keep you posted about our future plans… we are eager to reopen. Pray for us.

We are doing our curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help, so if you are in the area, do stop by. We love to see friends and customers.

We are happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday. Closed on Sunday.